Deadwater Fell
Channel 4, 9pm

DAVID Tennant is one of the most popular and sought-after actors in the UK.

He must receive hundreds of scripts every year – and more than likely rejects the vast majority of them. So when he puts his name to a project, you know it must be something very special indeed.

And Deadwater Fell must doubly brilliant because not only is he appearing in it, he’s also an executive producer.

The four-part crime drama has been penned by Daisy Coulam, whose previous work includes scripts for Humans and Grantchester, and is set in a small fictional Scottish community.

“With Deadwater Fell I wanted to look at the notion of evil,” claims Coulam. “We’re very quick to call something evil – to dismiss it out of hand as something inhuman or monstrous. But it is humans who commit these acts.

“Deadwater Fell is an unflinching look at a community we might live in, families we might know and what happens when tragedy befalls them.”

Tennant plays Tom, a local GP who appears to be happily married to Kate, with whom he has three adorable daughters. Their lives are entwined with those of their best friends Jess and Steve; the two families live close to each other, socialise and even go on holiday together.

Then, one night, the unthinkable happens – Kate and Tom’s home burns down, and although Tom survives, his wife and children are found dead inside. But there’s a further twist to the tale – they passed away before the fire began, and Tom becomes the chief suspect in their murder. But was he really capable of killing his loved ones? And if so, why did he do it?

The drama that follows charts the truth about their marriage, while also dissecting that of Jess and Steve, revealing the strain both couples were under as well as the impact the deaths have on those who knew and loved the victims.

“Daisy Coulam has written something very special, chilling and fascinating with these scripts,” claims Tennant. “I am honoured and delighted to be part of telling this extraordinary story.”

He’s joined in the cast by Anna Madeley, who plays Kate, and Cush Jumbo and Matthew McNulty, who take the roles of Jess and Steve respectively.

The project is the first for Channel 4’s new head of drama, Caroline Hollick, who states: “I’m so proud that Deadwater Fell is my first commission at Channel 4. Daisy’s writing is warm and full of heart, while boldly tackling epic themes of extreme violence with psychological acuity.

“She is turning the norms of family drama on its head, with a story that’s deeply shocking yet always relatable.”

Executive producer Emma Kingsman-Lloyd adds: “Daisy’s beguiling new drama dissects a community in crisis and examines the human psychology behind a horrific and hard to comprehend crime.

“But with her signature warmth and humanity, Daisy leads the audience on a journey to examine not just the nature of evil but also love and forgiveness.”

Laurie Brett, Jamie Michie, Stuart Bowman and Orla Russell head the supporting cast.